SANTA CLARA – The Bureau of Land Management is responding to vandalism at rock art sites located on public lands, including the archaeological and historic site of Land Hill in Southern Utah.
Land Hill is part of the Santa Clara River Reserve – a 6,500-acre area of public land collaboratively managed by BLM and the cities of Ivins and Santa Clara, in part to protect the many prehistoric sites found there, including a high concentration of rock art sites that are preserved on those lands. The BLM’s St. George Field Office has increased its monitoring efforts, is educating the public about these fragile cultural resource sites, and is pointing out the legal consequences of vandalism activities.
The many petroglyph panels of the Land Hill site reflect the stories and beliefs of the Native Americans who inhabited the area along the Santa Clara River as long as 5,000 years ago. Preservation of this and other archaeological sites gives future generations a glimpse of cultures that thrived in the past.
A few months ago, archaeologist William Banek and law enforcement officer Scott Lowrey of the St. George Field Office began noticing increased instances of scratched graffiti near these ancient petroglyphs.
“This is probably the work of juveniles who don’t understand the value and significance of these resources,” Banek said, who will be stepping up education outreach to local schools and youth organizations to address this issue.
Banek, Lowrey and BLM volunteer site stewards are routinely monitoring the sites. Anyone caught vandalizing rock art or other types of archeological sites may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, pay fines and restitution costs, and face community service or jail time.
If members of the public have information about this vandalism, they are requested to contact BLM law enforcement rangers at 435-688-3260 or 435-688-3341.
Submitted by BLM Color Country District
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